By: Carol Rood
My name is Carol and I am a 40(ish) mom of four kids, with a beautiful partner of seven years. We blended our families about five years ago, and our story is one full of joy, sorrow, pain, triumph, and struggle.
When I moved to Southeastern Virginia in September 2002, I had no idea where life would take me. I came here to be stationed at a helicopter squadron at the Norfolk Naval Base. I was a First Class Corpsman in the United States Navy. My family at that time consisted of my husband, our two young children –Z (aged 5) and J (aged 3) –and me. I was excited for a new beginning in a new place. My husband and I had been having marital difficulties for the last few years, and I was hopeful that a new beginning could be a turning point for us.
Within months of arriving at my new command, I was deployed to Bahrain to prepare for a possible invasion of Iraq. Half of our deployment was sent to work on the USS Ponce; the rest were given housing in the city of Manama, Bahrain. As I was preparing to go to the ship to check on our sailors there, one of my roommates told me I should seek out a female mechanic named “K” because she was “very cool”, and a great friend of hers.
Two days later, the flight surgeon and I were flown out to the ship. I was waiting in the lunch line behind one of the females from our squadron. I asked her if she knew who K was. She said she was K, and I babbled some nonsense about how I was told I should meet her because she was “cool”, and so-and-so said hello, and on and on. So the first impression K got of me was that of a babbling crazy woman. I left the ship to go back to the land-based deployment and didn’t see her again for a month.
When I did see her again it was a different story. We got to know each other better, and she came to realize that I was not a babbling crazy woman. We didn’t work together directly, but we saw each other around the squadron. Then one day she came to me because her shoulder was bothering her. I told her I would send the doc to take a look at it when he returned from a flight.
The flight surgeon returned, and I told him about our “patient”. He said he didn’t know her and asked what she looked like. I described her as the “tall, slender, blonde-haired mechanic with the prettiest blue eyes you have ever seen.” Based solely on my description, he found her.
K and I clicked. There was instant chemistry, and we became fast friends. We were always together at work and off duty. We talked about our kids and our family life (she was in a relationship with a guy back home). Even though we were in different flats on different floors, working opposite shifts, I would make her a cup of coffee every morning, and we would chat while I got ready to go to work. I had never bonded so quickly with anyone before; it just seemed as if we had known each other forever.
During my deployment, my marital relationship became more strained. My husband accused me of cheating on him, and he wasn’t properly caring for our children. The final straw for me was when our anniversary and Mother’s Day (on the same weekend) came and went without so much as a phone call, an email, or a card. I had had enough. Then and there I decided to end the marriage, realizing that Virginia WAS going to be our turning point, but not the way I had hoped.
So I returned from Bahrain with a new best friend, and a decision to end my strained marriage. I was so glad I had K to talk to as I entered into those unchartered waters. She was having trouble of her own in her relationship and we helped each other through the bad times.
One day we were shopping for clothes, and as I watched her try on a pair of pants I suddenly realized I was in love with her. WHOA, I thought, what in the hell is going on?!
K was not the first woman I had ever been in love with. As a matter of fact I had been living as a lesbian from the age of 18 until I was 21. However, my mother and younger brother convinced me that that was not who I really was, and so I turned my back on “the life”, and did what nice girls did…got married and had babies. Yet, here I was 9 years later, ending my marriage and in love with my best friend.
One night at a friend’s bachelorette party, K had been drinking and came up behind me and told me she “loved me to death.” I said, “sure…you are drunk…whatever”. Then as we got into the car, she leaned over and KISSED ME! Fireworks…sparks…butterflies…the whole nine yards…
It was scary, and I was afraid because I suddenly realized I had disobeyed the most basic rule of Lesbian 101: I had fallen in love with a straight girl!